Thomas Jefferson

Artist: John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)

Date: 1788

Medium: Oil on mahogany

Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (11.4 x 8.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Cornelia Cruger, 1923

Accession Number: 24.19.1


The Connecticut-born Trumbull took on, as an almost divine mission, the recording for posterity of the participants in the great events of the American Revolution. Trumbull met Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) in London in 1785. Jefferson, then America’s minister to France, invited the artist to be his guest in Paris, and Trumbull accepted the offer twice, in 1786 and 1787. On the second visit, he painted Jefferson from life directly into his small canvas depicting the presentation of the Declaration of Independence to John Hancock (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.). The present portrait, copied from the Yale picture, was painted for Jefferson, who presented it to his close friend Mrs. John B. Church.